AWP offers three annual scholarships of $500 each to emerging writers who wish to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. The scholarships are applied to fees for winners who attend one of the member programs in AWP’s Directory of Conferences & Centers. Winners and six finalists also receive a one-year individual membership in AWP.
The 2016 winner in poetry is Lisa Hiton for her submission, "Dislocated Cities". Of Lisa Hiton’s submission, judge Tarfia Faizullah wrote the following: "These poems experience the concept of time broadly, deeply, and specifically. I’m impressed by the vivid and careful precision in these works as well as the patience of the author who wrote them. There is elegantly handled formal restraint here, but also a wild and vast reckoning with our histories and how we love others through and with them. How do we negotiate ourselves to our own histories and those of others? This author’s poems are beautiful and nuanced responses to that question." Runners-Up in Poetry “Dear Ghost and Other Poems” by Annah Browning “At Eye Level” by Jenny Xie
"It’s impossible to say for sure, but it’s unlikely a Shiva could have been conducted upon a death in Auschwitz. Not that it would dramatically change the workings of the poem, but we think this Shiva is part of the dream, the speaker’s dream of the aftermath of her father’s death in unspeakable circumstances.If this is true, the poem, as the Shiva would, serves as an opportunity to mourn this death in a way that would have been impossible as it happened, and perhaps also nearly impossible now. As dreams go, elements of horror work their way in, turning the unimaginable to the imagined, as visual and sonic elements carry the core of the poem’s imagery. The speaker hears the fanning of a windmill and the humming of air. She sees a “relentless field,” a mass grave site really, and smokestacks―perhaps the clearest symbol of death when thinking of the Holocaust[...]"